Thursday, July 7

The riot at the Hotel Victoria that dynamited the PP of Granada before the full inauguration

At nine o’clock in the morning, the Granada City Council was decked out to be the scene of the full inauguration that was to elect the new mayor of the city. The Consistory workers were striving to get everything ready so that, two hours later, the socialist Francisco Cuenca was elected as councilor for the next two years to replace the resigned Luis Salvador (Citizens). While that was happening, just over 200 meters from there, the PP was experiencing a schism as a result of the decisions they had taken weeks before and that had ended up giving the PSOE the mayoralty. It was a heated meeting at the Hotel Victoria, in the heart of the city, that dynamited the Popular Party of Granada.

Luis Salvador commits his support to the PSOE of Granada beyond the inauguration of the new mayor

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Hours before, with Spain gambling for the pass to the final of the Eurocopa against Italy, several councilors of the municipal group of the PP reported that, in a desperate attempt to save a government of the right in the Granada City Council, the next morning they would have a meeting with Vox and Ciudadanos to try to unblock the council crisis. “They have not yet responded to the invitation,” wrote some councilor about both formations that, finally, would not end up attending the appointment. With nothing to negotiate because with six councilors the PP had no chance of taking over the baton, what was going to be a meeting to fix the situation on the horn, ended up becoming a festival of reproaches.

The meeting, which brought together the six popular councilors and the provincial general secretary of the party, Jorge Saavedra, was very tense, according to PP sources. To begin with, Saavedra and councilors Francisco Fuentes and César Díaz arrived almost an hour later than planned, which ignited the spirits of the rest of the participants in the meeting. The three had previously been at the provincial headquarters of the Popular Party analyzing what had happened so that their strategy had ended with the PSOE in power, aware that they had to give explanations to the popular councilors.

Without the provincial president

Some explanations that the president of the PP of Granada, Francisco Rodríguez, did not give because he did not attend the meeting. As Andalucía has learned, the popular leader did not meet with his colleagues or attend the full inauguration because he considers that he cannot make an appearance “in bad times.” An attitude that has earned him a bad image among the affiliates because they do not see him prepared to be the one who leads the Granada Popular Party. Above all, because taking over the mayor of Granada, his first great challenge, has resulted in a resounding defeat. But far from showing his face, the president of the PP of Granada has preferred to step aside.

Without Rodríguez in the meeting, thick words were put on the table and the disunity of the popular was evidenced. Among the questions that were raised, there were those who disfigured the provincial leadership who bet on Francisco Fuentes as the final candidate for mayor. A gesture that is explained because he was the only councilor that the former president of the PP, Sebastián Pérez, was willing to support to make him mayor and his vote was essential. However, for some of the councilors, making this concession to a former colleague who they consider a turncoat for having left the municipal group and having threatened to make a motion of censure together with the PSOE, was nothing more than a sign of weakness.

According to PP sources, another of those mentioned was the municipal spokesman, César Díaz, a councilor with a track record in the City Council who in recent months have taken their toll. Within his party they do not believe that he has managed to face the crisis of the Consistory. His press conferences have been erratic and contradictory and his final position has ended up being discredited by his colleagues. Halfway between the provincial leadership and the municipal group, Díaz ended up accepting that Fuentes was the candidate, despite the fact that even he himself aspired to be the one who governed Granada for the PP. In fact, his alignment with Sebastián Pérez has been the straw that has filled the patience of some of the councilors who share a municipal group and who are already considering leaving.

Sebastian’s Ordago

The riot at the Hotel Victoria was a very bitter trance for the popular. Aware that their political strategy had waned and had allowed the PSOE to take over the mayor’s office, previous events were analyzed. Starting with the press conference in which Sebastián Pérez launched the order that, if there was no alternation between Cs and PP in the mayor’s chair, he would give the mandate to the Socialists. They also talked about the roadmap set by Francisco Rodríguez. Party sources explain that the provincial president is greatly overcome by everything that happened and they tell of an episode in which Rodríguez promised the general secretary of the PP, Teodoro García Egea, that he would regain the mayor’s office for the popular. That there was nothing to worry about.

Within the Popular Party they say that the provincial president was the one who ordered the councilors to resign and leave the municipal government of Luis Salvador with the approval of the national leadership. That it was he who tried to corner Salvador, but did not calculate the strategy well enough and ended up failing miserably. So much so that council sources cannot explain how the PP has been able to end up giving the PSOE the mayoralty at a time that can be sweet for the socialists. With several million euros about to be released for works and with several projects on the table, among the militants of the Granada Popular Party they still do not explain how they have sacrificed themselves.

The Andalusian PP, in profile

In all this mess, the popular Andalusians have fared better. Aware of the suicide that was taking place in the Granada City Council and that endangered the stability of the bipartisan with Ciudadanos in the Junta de Andalucía, they have remained in a discreet background. Party sources say they have done it to avoid further confrontations with the PP national leadership and to look ahead to the 2023 municipal elections. Almost everyone in the party is aware that few or none of the current PP councilors will repeat in The lists. “We have given the Government to the PSOE and it is possible that not only for two years, but for six,” argue the popular. They fear that the lack of local leadership, disunity and a bad image will put on a plate a new mandate of the socialists who have already won the local elections of 2019.

Paradoxically, the PP left the Hotel Victoria more defeated than ever. Within the training it is anticipated that the coming months will be very difficult for some councilors who do not rule out resigning and returning to their professions. Far from ending, the political novel of Granada continues in a culminating moment. With some stability in the government team, the intrigues are now moving to the recomposition of the popular and what will happen to the remains of Ciudadanos. Meanwhile, in the background, the first notices of dismissal of the president of the PP of Granada begin to sound and the names of the future popular municipal project appear. But the only sure thing is that the PSOE returns to govern in a much more favorable environment than in 2016, with a good margin to achieve majorities and with the aim of presenting itself as a “responsible” and management party in the face of the spectacle offered by the bipartisan of PP and Cs.